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July 2016 news archive

IM Properties breaks the £100m profit barrier

One of Britain’s biggest privately-owned property companies has achieved the best results yet, more than doubling its annual profits to smash the £100 million barrier.

Midlands/Coleshill-based IM Properties (IMP) recorded annual pre-tax earnings of £103.2m for 2015, up by a remarkable 242% from £42.5m in the previous year.

The record figure was achieved on turnover up 30% to £164m, and although the business made significant investments in land and development projects during the year, it still ended the trading period with impressive cash reserves and access to extensive credit lines.

Managing director Tim Wooldridge says IMP also increased the value of its investment portfolio, which includes projects under construction, by a solid 20% - from £675m to £811m.

Wooldridge says whilst a record performance had been achieved this year, they anticipate a more gradual growth in the coming year with natural short term uncertainty stemming from BREXIT.

“We have enjoyed an exceptional year and are well equipped to deal with any market volatility. The sale of a £200m industrial portfolio to a Malaysian pension fund earlier this year, has deepened our war chest and whilst we have already made a series of acquisitions this year, we have the resources to take advantage of opportunities as and when they arise.”

Wooldridge adds. “We’ve been strengthening our in-house teams over the last year in readiness for a period of growth. Staff numbers were up from 40 to 71 in 2015, and we’ve got the financial strength to back our teams in the marketplace.

“If you benchmark us against other property companies in the industry we are doing extremely well, achieving a 27% return on investment (ROI) during the trading period, which is another record high.

“Clearly there is uncertainty across the property market at present and we will have to see how it all unfolds over the coming weeks. We are confident that the strong fundamentals underpinning the UK economy will prevail in the medium term.

“We are fleet-of-foot strategically, because we aren’t burdened by a complex shareholder structure, and our decision-making is quick and uncomplicated.We are very confident in the robust nature of our business model, which has consistently delivered profitable growth for the last three decades. It continues to be based on performance, reliability and delivery and we will continue to identify opportunities this year - for ourselves or on a partnership basis, depending on the scale of projects.”

IMP’s ‘Five Live’ shed strategy pays off again

IM Properties (IMP) has achieved a second quick success for its £50m ‘Five Live’ strategy, to deliver new industrial space in its Midlands heartland.

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has signed for the spec-built Hub 55, at the Hub industrial park on the outskirts of Birmingham, which will also be home to the new Birmingham Wholesale Markets.

CBRE Global Investors (CBRE GI) acquired five units, including Hub 55, in April - as part of a £192m portfolio acquisition for an International pension fund client - but IMP still owns 29 acres of development land at the Witton-based park.

Rob Trevor, CBRE GI senior director, was understandably pleased that Hub 55 had been let so swiftly after completion.

“We are delighted to welcome EEF to the Hub. I believe the early letting reflects both the high quality of the development by IMP, and the strength of the Midlands market,” he said.

“This was a real team effort, with ourselves, IMP and EEF working closely together to meet the tight occupational deadline, because the training space needed to be available by September. We now only have one 55,000 sq ft unit remaining - Hub 54, which is already attracting good interest.”

EEF’s head of estates and facilities, Ian Christie, says it needed more space to offer further hi-tech training facilities for apprentices, management and commercial staff working in the region’s motor industry and advanced manufacturing sectors.

“We are committed to supporting UK manufacturing, and this space will allow us to further expand and extend our training offer to provide the skills our sector needs in order to grow,” he said.

IMP’s development director, Richard Lawrence, was also pleased that the EEF had taken a 16-year lease.

“As a developer, we’re always looking to identify quality locations which offer significant future potential, so it’s pleasing to meet occupiers who also take a long-term view.” he said.

“Hub 55 was the second of our spec-built units, delivered through the ‘Five Live’ strategy we announced last autumn, which will ultimately bring forward 500,000 sq ft of much-needed industrial space in this region.

“It’s only weeks since the first new unit, at our Birch Coppice Business Park, was let to Autins Group, and it’s very satisfying to see that the pent-up demand is there for quality space.”

Katie Aitchison from Savills added: “The letting to EEF is testament to IMP’s commitment to speculative development.  Birmingham has suffered from a distinct lack of good quality industrial stock, which is why the two units at The Hub have received so much interest.”

The Hub’s agents are the Birmingham offices of CBRE, Knight Frank and Savills. The EEF was represented by Chris Sinclair, from the Nottingham office of Innes England.